Palmyra’s Morgan Butler received an award for best research project in physical and computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Undergraduate Research Day. The project, entitled “Modeling a North Forest Ecosystem,” was a part of a collaboration of Butler with co-researchers Conner Yass and James McNeil. Shown, left to right, are Yass, Butler and UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper. (Tom Ganser photo)

By Tom Ganser

Of 162 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students, Morgan Butler, of Palmyra, received the best research project in physical and computer science.

Butler, along with co-researchers Conner Yass and James McNeil, produced “Modeling a North Forest Ecosystem,” which was in physical and computer sciences.

In the abstract for the study, they wrote, “In the North Forest, a unique ecosystem exists of timber rattlesnakes who prey on deer mice, who in turn prey on white oak tree acorns. In order to understand the interactions and effects each group has on the other, we attempt to model the ecological relationships among these species. This model helps us comprehend the far-reaching effects of the predator-prey relationships on this ecosystem’s biodiversity.

“The goal of this project is to study the seasonal population trends and the long-term cyclical events … We assume here that there will be no humans or other animals interacting with the ecosystem, animals and acorns are uniformly dispersed in the environment, each oak tree will produce its average number of acorns each year, and that the climate and environmental conditions will not change.”

For more on Butler’s project, pick up the April 6 edition of The Enterprise of Palmyra and Eagle.


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